Friday, April 12, 2024

Knowing Where You're Going

The plan for today was a music post but they take a while and the weather's turned warm and fine so that's not happening. The garden won't tidy itself, more's the pity.

Instead, how about another Friday grab-bag? I think I have enough bookmarks for one of those...

Is it, Though?

The headline on the news report at MMOBomb trumpets "The World Of Pantheon: Rise Of The Fallen Is Looking Much Better With The New Lighting Update". News Editor Troy Blackburn seems really impressed: 

"...the most impressive thing they have implemented into Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen is the improved lighting.... The video does a fantastic job of highlighting the changes to the lighting system and it's amazing how much of a difference it makes."

I was curious to see it after that build-up. I'm broadly in favor of the new graphic style Visionary Realms have chosen and it's looked pretty good in the videos they've put out so far to promote it. This one? Not so much.

The video wasn't produced by VR themselves but by a YouTuber called Redbeardflynn (No relation to our own Redbeard, at least I'm assuming...). The video itself is perfectly fine. It's what it shows that bothers me.

These things are always a matter of taste but to my eye, many of the Befores in that video look more atmospheric and characterful than the largely bland and over-illuminated Afters. It's not that I think the new lighting is in any way bad. I just can't see it as much of an improvement. By and large, I prefer it the way it was. 

It does, I suppose, have the merit of making it easier to see everything, which seems to be in keeping with the direction the game is heading. I'm beginning to think that, when and if it ever reaches an official launch state, Pantheon won't look much like Brad's original vision at all. 

That may or may not be a bad thing. By then the whole retro scene might almost be ready for a revival of its own, it's been going on so long now. I'm not entirely sure who the target demographic is any more, anyway. People who plan on playing video games when they retire? If so, maybe it makes sense to make everything easier to see.

Maybe they should include a magnifying glass in the Collector's Edition.

Anyone Got A Map?

Just a quick follow-up to yesterday's post about the latest EverQuest II update, Darkpaw Rising. Attentive readers may have noticed a throwaway line in which I described it as "excellent, awkward and frustrating". It's all of that and what's more it's meant to be.

The new instance is based on, although by no means the same as, the sprawling dungeon included with the old Splitpaw Saga Adventure Pack from June 2005, a time when the EQII development team at SOE was still taking no prisoners when it came to accessibility. Almost two decades later, someone at Darkpaw clearly thinks the time has come to revisit that aesthetic. 

The new update is... challenging. What it mostly challenges is your patience. If you're the kind of person who yells "Yippee!" when they realise the quest they're on is sending them deep into a maze or someone who keeps a pad of graph paper and a mapping pen always to hand in the fervent hope a cartographic opportunity may arise, you're going to love this update.

If you're everyone else, you're going to tab out after ten minutes and start searching for help. I did and found nothing so I gritted my loins, girded my teeth and got on with it. 

In a couple of hours or so I'd killed every last gnoll in the place, as well as all the bats, snakes, mushroom-men, earth elementals and any damn thing that moved. I'd bought some tracking scrolls in the cash shop so I could find my quest targets and now there was literally nothing on track. Not a living or undead thing left in the place and yet I still had plenty of unfinished quests, some of them asking me to kill mobs I'd not seen at all.

That was working as intended. The dungeon is meant to take more than one run to complete. It has multiple levels with some areas inaccessible without the use of crafted devices such as ladders or teleport crystals. I knew all that. I'd even stopped to do the tradeskill instance so I could make the items I needed. The problem was, I couldn't figure out where I was meant to use them.

In the end I decided to do some proper research, which eventually paid off.  Searching for all kinds of variations on Darkpaw Dungeon/Instance/Warren got me nowhere but when I googled Darkpaw Maps I finally got some hits. In case anyone reading this is thinking of giving the new content a look, I'm very happy to share what I found.

There's a page on the wiki but it's tucked away under the heading Darkpaw Warrens Maps. It has several links to some maps made in beta by a player called Taled, along with a fairly comprehensive quest walkthrough.

Taled says he's not planning on uploading the maps to EQ2Maps (Although now I check he has at least posted them on the forums there so someone else can do it.) so you'll have to install them yourself. Luckily for the less technically-minded among us, he's included comprehensive instructions, which I followed and can attest work perfectly. There are also some PoIs you can add to the maps, which is an even fiddlier process but if I can manage it, anyone can.

Thanks for the maps, Taled! I'd be lost without them. Literally.

Ever Wish You Hadn't Bothered?

Remember those two posts back in March, where I went through every act on the Glastonbury Emerging Talent Competition longlist and gave my thoughts on all of them? Well, that was a waste of time!

Yesterday, the organisers announced the eight names that made it through to the shortlist. No mention of my favorites, of course. I wasn't all that surprised. There wasn't a lot that interested or impressed me on the long list and I was fairly sure the few I did like wouldn't make the cut. 

That said, I did think George Houston would make it onto the shortlist. He looks like a star already. But nope. No sign of him, or of the wonderful Chloe Slater - who, to be fair, may only have that one, great song...oh, wait...

Of the eight, most seem like solid, musicianly picks. I guess it's in keeping with the way Glastonbury is these days - slick, professional, polished and more than a little dull. I guess they didn't call it Worthy Farm for nothing. Not like the old days, although god knows the old days weren't all that great, either. 

Anyway, for completion's sake, the eight shortlisters are The Ayoub Sisters, Bryte, Caleb Kunle, JayaHadADream, KID 12, Nadia Kadek, Olivia Nelson, and Problem Patterns. If you want links, you can find them in the aforementioned posts. 

I'm kidding!I know no-one here cares!

End With A Tune

I did say I wanted to do a music post today. I guess I'm halfway there. I've been bookmarking a lot of stuff to share of late but on review I'm not wholly convinced it's all up to the mark. I mean, I like all of it but a lot doesn't really stand out from the pack the way it probably should if I'm going to pull it out for special attention.

This does, though.

 I LUV IT feat. Playboi Carti - Camillo Cabello

She's a pop star, apparently. I hadn't heard of her but that means nothing. Pop's changed, hasn't it? For the better. 

A lot of things I've liked lately seem to have had Playboi Carti somewhere around them, too.

Also, I love that video, particularly the very last shot with the bloodstain slowly spreading and that wonderful expression she pulls...

And we're done. Real music post soon, weather permitting.

1 comment:

  1. No, no relation to that other Redbeard. And before you ask, yes, I do have an X account, but I never use it. So any other "Redbeards" out there in X or YouTube or Instagram, etc. aren't me.

    But I'm here to say that I was surprised I liked I LUV IT as much as I did.


Wider Two Column Modification courtesy of The Blogger Guide